Freddie Ljungberg criticises ‘sad’ Arsenal over Bukayo Saka reliance

Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg has praised Bukayo Saka’s performances this season but says it is worrying and ‘sad’ for the Gunners that they have become so reliant on the teenager.

The 19-year-old has netted five times for the north London club in the Premier League this season, as well as laying on two assists, and has so often provided a moment of magic when Arsenal have needed it.

But Ljungberg – who coached Saka in Arsenal’s youth team and briefly managed him – feels other players need to step up and take pressure off the youngster. ‘It’s almost sad for Arsenal that Bukayo is now the main man and the one you look for to create that special moment,’ Ljungberg explained on Sky Sports before the Gunners’ 2-1 defeat of Tottenham in the north London derby.

‘His decision-making and execution are top. But being that young and almost having to carry the team is not right either. ‘He has a great mentality and he is a great kid. But that is a lot of pressure to take on when you’re that young.’

Ljungberg started coaching Saka when he was just 15 years old and was part of Unai Emery’s backroom team when he first emerged in the Gunners’ senior squad, and he is thrilled with the progress the youngster has made.

‘He’s been at Arsenal his whole life and loves the club. He knows what it means,’ the Swede continued.

‘He works so hard. He was 15 when I started coaching him and it was a pleasure. ‘He came and asked questions all the time and was not scared to ask to practice things a bit extra. He was very clever and I’m so happy for him.’

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